By Jordan Aw (20S06D), Chairperson, Goh Ling Yi (20S03A), Vice-Chairperson, and Kashfy Ilxilim B Zulkarna’in (20S06T)
Hello there! We are Raffles Rock, RI’s resident rock band. (Not a geology club. Also not a rock climbing CCA.) Since you’re here, you must be wondering a few important questions: What is Raffles Rock? Why Raffles Rock? What does Raffles Rock do? And so on. (And for the eager ones, the question may be: how does one Raffles Rock? Skip to bottom for answers.)
Maybe you’ve passed by that odd little room on the fourth floor with the red sign on top. Maybe you’ve even heard some odd noises coming out of it. Maybe those noises were really quite odd (in that case we’re probably responsible. We apologise in advance for your confusion.). Maybe the sounds were so curious that you even ventured to step in! Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to do that. But we can try to give you a glimpse of the goings-on within that room, and who exactly occupies that room.
That little room is called the Jamming Studio and it is our beloved CCA room. You’ll find us occupying it twice a week on Tuesdays, from 4pm to 7pm, and on Thursdays, from 4pm to 6pm. To be fair, the hours are pretty flexible—we usually use the Studio whenever we’re willing and able to. (On the other days of the week except Mondays, the Studio is occupied by Raffles Jazz, our not-so-distant cousins.)
What is it, you ask, that we do at CCA? Naturally, CCA sessions usually involve playing some of our favourite songs to hone our musical skill, or practising for upcoming concerts. While we generally play (unsurprisingly) rock, each batch forms their own unique band, and they define what the band is and will be. Each individual’s musical tastes and styles can have a tremendous effect on what the band chooses to play. So what we play varies over time, and depends on who plays it.
Being part of this CCA exposes you to a variety of opportunities to perform as a band. Our main events are ROCK-IN, held in school around April (for free), as well as ROCK-OUT, held at the end of Term 2 at *SCAPE, The Ground Theatre. ROCK-OUT is our most anticipated, ticketed event: with fancy costumes and makeup, themed set design, professional lighting and sound crew, there is no reason anyone—least of all you, having read this article—should give it a miss! It’s an exciting night of jumping, head-banging, and singing (but probably actually screaming) to familiar tunes.
Apart from these two, other official and unofficial events usually come our way. You’ll be able to catch us playing on stage during school events (e.g. National Day, Batch Night, Open House), as well as at occasional Youth-for-Causes (YFC) concerts and other external gigs.
No article on Raffles Rock would be complete without a word on the guardians who book the Studio for us, remind us to pack up on time, ensure our well-being, and most importantly, keep our blatant insanity in check. They are none other than Dr Lena Lui (Mrs Teo) and Ms Ng Pei San, our dedicated teachers-in-charge, who always make sure things are in place at the end of the day. Raffles Rock is also mentored by our instructor, Mr Ian Toh (but you should probably address him by Ian). He sports a beautiful, shiny mane, and he’s actually a pretty cool guy. Besides helping us with the technicalities of the music we play, he also imparts valuable life lessons (and occasionally spills some tea about the music scene) to us. Needless to say, we would be lost without these three—their guidance has undoubtedly played a significant role in our development.
So after reading all that, perhaps you’re asking the million-dollar question: How does one Raffles Rock? Unfortunately, we have to tell you we don’t have a million dollars. But we do hold Open Jam! Open Jam is basically a little sneak preview of what Rock is like, and what we do during our typical CCA sessions. You’ll have the opportunity to step into the studio and not only listen to us play, but even try out our instruments and get a feel for what Rock is like before you audition—but most importantly, you’ll get to jam and have fun with your friends! So sign up for Open Jam when you get the chance, because walk-ins are limited to a first-come-first-served basis and depend on slot availability.
If you’re really into Raffles Rock and want to join us, come for our auditions! We hold auditions during the January Induction Programme (JIP) for RP students, and also during the JAE Induction Programme (JAEIP). Each batch generally has 2 guitarists, 2 drummers, 2 keyboardists (or as they like to call themselves, synthesists), 2 vocalists, and 1 (lonely) bassist, depending on the talent pool for the year. During the auditions, you’ll be required to play a song of your choice, along with a set piece to be released during JIP. No stress, just do your thing and play the music you love—you only need a small degree of skill, but an open attitude to carry you throughout your days in Rock. So what do you know, you just might have what it takes!
For many of us here in Raffles Rock, the thrill of performing onstage as a band is an experience too good to pass up. But much more importantly, CCA is a brief respite from the stresses of school life, and always a good place to have fun and make really great friends. If you’re passionate about music and rock, crave the thrill of performance, and are looking for an experience like no other, there won’t be a moment in Rock you don’t enjoy!
Follow us on Instagram @rafflesrock for updates and cool stuff!